2 soldiers killed in clash in northwestern Pakistan

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Two soldiers, including a captain were killed during an alleged clash with militants in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, according to the military.

The incident took place in Swabi district near Peshawar -- the provincial capital city of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa -- during a siege of a militant compound, the army said in a statement.

The siege of the compound remains ongoing, it added.

The operation is part of a recently-launched countrywide anti-terrorism campaign by Pakistani army.

Over a dozen troops and more than 30 suspected militants have been killed in clashes in the last one week.

Pakistan blames "Afghanistan-based" militants for carrying out attacks on civilians and security forces. Kabul, in response, accuses Islamabad of patronizing Afghan Taliban and the powerful militant group known as the Haqqani network.

The ongoing operation is a sequel of an earlier onslaught the army launched in northwestern tribal belt along the Afghan border in hopes to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban coalition -- Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan -- in 2014.

More than 5,000 suspected militants and over 700 troops have been killed in airstrikes, clashes and landmine blasts since then.

The figures provided by the army, however, could not be independently verified since the media is not allowed in areas where the military operation takes place.

The operation also displaced over a million tribesmen, of whom, the government claims, over 80 percent have returned to their homes.

2017.03.07 / 14:24
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